Every year, hundreds of people get the bright idea that they can, without any experience, drop a turkey into a deep fryer, and several oooohs and aaaahs later a somewhat unique Thanksgiving dinner will be served. Sometimes it works out well, but other times they’ll soon end up giving thanks for their local fire department. The videos are all over the internet, and as we know, the internet is forever.
In reading an article posted on http://www.fdnysmart.org/, I found that “According to the National Fire Protection Association: deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year.”
Now if you’re thinking those odds aren’t bad, it’s very easy to scoff when it isn’t your home – or your hands – being burnt. If any guests are within arms-length of the possible firestorm, property damage may be the least of your worries, as an attorney may soon follow up with some paperwork to make this a holiday you won’t soon forget.
“But the taste! The texture!” …
Ok, if I can’t convince you not to do it, then let’s at least be sure you’re doing it safely.
First, above all other preparations, please make sure your Turkey is 100% defrosted! If there’s any ice in there, it can cause oil to bubble over the top. That oil will almost certainly flow into contact with the electrical parts of the frier, and the results will be a huge fireball. This brings me to my second point:
Please be sure to use your turkey fryer outside! Aside from the dangers of spillovers, a turkey fryer is a large appliance that may not be steady or secure. If someone or something (for example, your “very good boy” who just can’t wait for turkey) backs or bumps into it, the end result could be catastrophic. Do your best to keep kids and pets far away.
Also, be sure to read the directions first and do not overfill the unit. Purchase a fryer with an oil temperature gauge if possible, and if not, have a way to monitor that temperature so the oil doesn’t overheat and flame up. Wear high-temp potholders and safety glasses (oil splatter to the eyes would make for an unhappy Thanksgiving for sure). Finally, please remember that if something goes terribly wrong, you’re dealing with a grease fire here, not a regular one. Be sure to have a large box of baking soda, and/or a fire extinguisher ready. Never pour water on a grease fire.
If, after reading this article, you DO attempt this cooking technique, I definitely hope you do so safely and with great success! May your bird be perfectly crisped and juicy, your glasses (and hearts) full, and may your Thanksgiving be a happy one for you and your family. If it comes out good, save me a drumstick!